President Carter
1981 State of the Union Message
(33,831 words, 63 pages)

[Editor's note: Mr. Carter was defeated for reelection in 1980.
Nevertheless, he opted to transmit a written State of the Union Address to Congress.
Because of its extraordinary length, I have divided it into different pages on this site.]

Part V


Since taking office, I have been strongly committed to strengthening the fiscal and economic condition of our Nation's State and local governments. I have accomplished this goal by encouraging economic development of local communities, and by supporting the General Revenue Sharing and other essential grant-in-aid programs.


During my Administration, total grants-in-aid to State and local governments have increased by more than 40 percent, from $68 billion in Fiscal Year 1977 to $96 billion in Fiscal Year 1981. This significant increase in aid has allowed States and localities to maintain services that are essential to their citizens without imposing onerous tax burdens. It also has allowed us to establish an unprecedented partnership between the leaders of the Federal government and State and local government elected officials.


Last year Congress enacted legislation that extends the General Revenue Sharing program for three more years. This program is the cornerstone of our efforts to maintain the fiscal health of our Nation's local government. It will provide $4.6 billion in each of the next three years to cities, counties and towns. This program is essential to the continued ability of our local governments to provide essential police, fire and sanitation services.

This legislation renewing GRS will be the cornerstone of Federal-State-local government relations in the 1980's. This policy will emphasize the need for all levels of government to cooperate in order to meet the needs of the most fiscally strained cities and counties, and also will emphasize the important role that GRS can play in forging this partnership. I am grateful that Congress moved quickly to assure that our Nation's localities can begin the 1980's in sound fiscal condition.


Last year, I proposed that Congress enact a $1 billion counter-cyclical fiscal assistance program to protect States and localities from unexpected changes in the national economy. This program unfortunately was not enacted by the [full] Congress. I, therefore, have not included funding for counter-cyclical aid in my Fiscal Year 1982 budget. Nevertheless, I urge Congress to enact a permanent stand-by counter-cyclical program, so that States and cities can be protected during the next economic downturn.


Three years ago, I proposed the Nation's first comprehensive urban policy. That policy involved more than one hundred improvements in existing Federal programs, four new Executive Orders and nineteen pieces of urban-oriented legislation. With Congress' cooperation, sixteen of these bills have now been signed into law.


One of the principal goals of my domestic policy has been to strengthen the private sector economic base of our Nation's economically troubled urban and rural areas. With Congress' cooperation, we have substantially expanded the Federal government's economic development programs and provided new tax incentives for private investment in urban and rural communities. These programs have helped many communities to attract new private sector jobs and investments and to retain the jobs and investments that already are in place.

When I took office, the Federal government was spending less than $300 million annually on economic development programs, and only $60 million of those funds in our Nation's urban areas. Since that time, we have created the Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) program and substantially expanded the economic development programs in the Commerce Department. My FY 1982 budget requests more than $1.5 billion for economic development grants, loans and interest subsidies and almost $1.5 billion for loan guarantees. Approximately 60 percent of these funds will be spent in our Nation's urban areas. In addition, we have extended the 10 percent investment credit to include rehabilitation of existing industrial facilities as well as new construction.

I continue to believe that the development of private sector investment and jobs is the key to revitalizing our Nation's economically depressed urban and rural areas. To ensure that the necessary economic development goes forward, the Congress must continue to provide strong support for the UDAG program and the programs for the Economic Development Administration. Those programs provide a foundation for the economic development of our Nation in the 1980's.


The partnership among Federal, State and local governments to revitalize our Nation's communities has been a high priority of my Administration. When I took office, I proposed a substantial expansion of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the enactment of a new $400 million Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) program. Both of these programs have provided essential community and economic development assistance to our Nation's cities and counties.

Last year, Congress reauthorized both the CDBG and UDAG programs. The CDBG program was reauthorized for three more years with annual funding increases of $150 million, and the UDAG program was extended for three years at the current funding level of $675 million annually. My 1982 budget requests full funding for both of these programs. These actions should help our Nation's cities and counties to continue the progress they have made in the last three years.


During my Administration we have taken numerous positive steps to achieve a full partnership of neighborhood organizations and government at all levels. We have successfully fought against red lining and housing discrimination. We created innovative Self Help funding and technical resource transfer mechanisms. We have created unique methods of access for neighborhood organizations to have a participating role in Federal and State government decision-making. Neighborhood based organizations are the threshold of the American community.

The Federal government will need to develop more innovative and practical ways for neighborhood based organizations to successfully participate in the identification and solution of local and neighborhood concerns. Full partnership will only be achieved with the knowing participation of leaders of government, business, education and unions. Neither state nor Federal solutions imposed from on high will suffice. Neighborhoods are the fabric and soul of this great land. Neighborhoods define the weave that has been used to create a permanent fabric. The Federal government must take every opportunity to provide access and influence to the individuals and organizations affected at the neighborhood level.


Since the beginning of my Administration, I have been committed to improving the effectiveness with which the Federal government deals with the problems and needs of a rapidly changing rural America. The rapid growth of some rural areas has placed a heavy strain on communities and their resources. There are also persistent problems of poverty and economic stagnation in other parts of rural America. Some rural areas continue to lose population, as they have for the past several decades.

In December, 1979, I announced the Small Community and Rural Development Policy. It was the culmination of several years' work and was designed to address the varying needs of our rural population. In 1980, my Administration worked with the Congress to pass the Rural Development Policy Act of 1980, which when fully implemented will allow us to meet the needs of rural people and their communities more effectively and more efficiently.

As a result of the policy and the accompanying legislation, we have:

* Created the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development to provide overall leadership.

* Established a White House Working Group to assist in the implementation of the policy.

* Worked with more than 40 governors to form State rural development councils to work in partnership with the White House Working Group, and the Federal agencies, to better deliver State and Federal programs to rural areas.

* Directed the White House Working Group to annually review existing and proposed policies, programs, and budget levels to determine their adequacy in meeting rural needs and the fulfilling of the policy's objectives and principles.

This effort on the part of my Administration and the Congress has resulted in a landmark policy. For the first time, rural affairs has received the prominence it has always deserved. It is a policy that can truly help alleviate the diverse and differing problems rural America will face in the 1980's.

With the help and dedication of a great many people around the country who are concerned with rural affairs, we have constructed a mechanism for dealing effectively with rural problems. There is now a great opportunity to successfully combine Federal efforts with the efforts of rural community leaders and residents. It is my hope this spirit of cooperation and record of accomplishment will be continued in the coming years.


In September, 1979, I signed an Executive Order designed to strengthen and coordinate Federal consumer programs and to establish procedures to improve and facilitate consumer participation in government decision-making. Forty Federal agencies have adopted programs to comply with the requirements of the Order. These programs will improve complaint handling, provide better information to consumers, enhance opportunities for public participation in government proceedings, and assure that the consumer point of view is considered in all programs, policies, and regulations.

While substantial progress has been made in assuring a consumer presence in Federal agencies, work must continue to meet fully the goals of the Executive Order. Close monitoring of agency compliance with the requirements of the Order is necessary. Continued evaluation to assure that the programs are effective and making maximum use of available resources is also essential. As a complement to these initiatives, efforts to provide financial assistance in regulatory proceedings to citizen groups, small businesses, and others whose participation is limited by their economic circumstances must continue to be pursued.

It is essential that consumer representatives in government pay particular attention to the needs and interests of low-income consumers and minorities. The Office of Consumer Affairs' publication, "People Power: What Communities Are Doing to Counter Inflation," catalogues some of the ways that government and the private sector can assist the less powerful in our society to help themselves. New ways should be found to help foster this new people's movement which is founded on the principle of self-reliance.


Science and technology contribute immeasurably to the lives of all Americans. Our high standard of living is largely the product of the technology that surrounds us in the home or factory. Our good health is due in large part to our ever increasing scientific understanding. Our national security is assured by the application pate science and technology will bring.

The Federal government has a special role to play in science and technology. Although the fruits of scientific achievements surround us, it is often difficult to predict the benefits that will arise from a given scientific venture. And these benefits, even if predictable, do not usually lead to ownership rights. Accordingly, the Government has a special obligation to support science as an investment in our future.

My Administration has sought to reverse a decade-long decline in funding. Despite the need for fiscal restraint, real support of basic research has grown nearly 11% during my term in office. And, my Administration has sought to increase the support of long-term research in the variety of mission agencies. In this way, we can harness the American genius for innovation to meet the economic, energy, health, and security challenges that confront our nation.

International Relations and National Security. Science and technology are becoming increasingly important elements of our national security and foreign policies. This is especially so in the current age of sophisticated defense systems and of growing dependence among all countries on modern technology for all aspects of their economic strength. For these reasons, scientific and technological considerations have been integral elements of the Administration's decision-making on such national security and foreign policy issues as the modernization of our strategic weaponry, arms control, technology transfer, the growing bilateral relationship with China, and our relations with the developing world.

Four themes have shaped U.S. policy in international scientific and technological cooperation: pursuit of new international initiatives to advance our own research and development objectives; development and strengthening of scientific exchange to bridge politically ideological, and cultural divisions between this country and other countries; formulation of programs and institutional relations to help developing countries use science and technology beneficially; and cooperation with other nations to manage technologies with local impact. At my direction, my Science and Technology Adviser has actively pursued international programs in support of these four themes. We have given special attention to scientific and technical relations with China, to new forms of scientific and technical cooperation with Japan, to cooperation with Mexico, other Latin American and Caribbean countries and several states in Black America, and to the proposed Institute for Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

In particular our cooperation with developing countries reflects the importance that each of them has placed on the relationship between economic growth and scientific and technological capability. It also reflects their view that the great strength of the U.S. in science and technology makes close relations with the U.S. technical community an especially productive means of enhancing this capability. Scientific and technological assistance is a key linkage between the U.S. and the developing world, a linkage that has been under-utilized in the past and one which we must continue to work to strengthen.


The Administration has established a framework for a strong and evolving space program for the 1980's.

The Administration's space policy reaffirmed the separation of military space systems and the open civil space program, and at the same time, provided new guidance on technology transfer between the civil and military programs. The civil space program centers on three basic tenets: First, our space policy will reflect a balanced strategy of applications, science, and technology development. Second, activities will be pursued when they can be uniquely or more efficiently accomplished in space. Third, a premature commitment to a high challenge, space-engineering initiative of the complexity of Apollo is inappropriate. As the Shuttle development phases down, however, there will be added flexibility to consider new space applications, space science and new space exploration activities.

* Technology Development. The Shuttle dominates our technology development effort and correctly so. It represents one of the most sophisticated technological challenges ever undertaken, and as a result, has encountered technical problems. Nonetheless, the first manned orbital flight is now scheduled for March, 1981. I have been pleased to support strongly the necessary funds for the Shuttle throughout my Administration.

* Space Applications. Since 1972, the U.S. has conducted experimental civil remote sensing through Landsat satellites, thereby realizing many successful applications. Recognizing this fact, I directed the implementation of an operational civil land satellite remote sensing system, with the operational management responsibility in Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition, because ocean observations from space can meet common civil and military data requirements, a National Oceanic Satellite System has been proposed as a major FY 1981 new start.

* Space Science Exploration. The goals of this Administration's policy in space science have been to: (1) continue a vigorous program of planetary exploration to understand the origin and evolution of the solar system; (2) utilize the space telescope and free-flying satellites to usher in a new era of astronomy; (3) develop a better understanding of the sun and its interaction with the terrestrial environment; and (4) utilize the Shuttle and Spacelab to conduct basic research that complements earth-based life science investigations.


Washington, D.C., is home to both the Federal Government and to more than half a million American citizens. I have worked to improve the relationship between the Federal establishment and the Government of the District of Columbia in order to further the goals and spirit of home rule. The City controls more of its own destiny than was the case four years ago. Yet, despite the close cooperation between my Administration and that of Mayor Barry, we have not yet seen the necessary number of states ratify the Constitutional Amendment granting full voting representation in the Congress to the citizens of this city. It is my hope that this inequity will be rectified. The country and the people who inhabit Washington deserve no less.


The arts are a precious national resource.

Federal support for the arts has been enhanced during my Administration by expanding government funding and services to arts institutions, individual artists, scholars, and teachers through the National Endowment for the Arts. We have broadened its scope and reach to a more diverse population. We have also reactivated the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

It is my hope that during the coming years the new Administration and the Congress will:

* Continue support of institutions promoting development and understanding of the arts;

* Encourage business participants in a comprehensive effort to achieve a truly mixed economy of support for the arts;

* Explore a variety of mechanisms to nurture the creative talent of our citizens and build audiences for their work;

* Support strong, active National Endowments for the Arts;

* Seek greater recognition for the rich cultural tradition of the nation's minorities;

* Provide grants for the arts in low-income neighborhoods.


In recently reauthorizing Federal appropriations for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Congress has once again reaffirmed that "the encouragement and support of national progress and scholarship in the humanities . . . while primarily a matter for private and local initiative, is also an appropriate matter of concern to the Federal Government" and that "a high civilization must not limit its efforts to science and technology alone but must give full value and support to the other great branches of man's scholarly and cultural activity in order to achieve a better understanding of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future."

I believe we are in agreement that the humanities illuminate the values underlying important personal, social, and national questions raised in our society by its multiple links to and increasing dependence on technology, and by the diverse heritage of our many regions and ethnic groups. The humanities cast light on the broad issue of the role in a society of men and women of imagination and energy-- those individuals who through their own example define "the spirit of the age," and in so doing move nations. Our Government's support for the humanities, within the framework laid down by the Congress, is a recognition of their essential nourishment of the life of the mind and vital enrichment of our national life.

I will be proposing an increase in funding this year sufficient to enable the Endowment to maintain the same level of support offered our citizens in Fiscal Year 1981.

In the allocation of this funding, special emphasis will be given to:

* Humanities education in the nation's schools, in response to the great needs that have arisen in this area

* Scholarly research designed to increase our understanding of the cultures, traditions, and historical forces at work in other nations and in our own;

* Drawing attention to the physical disintegration of the raw material of our cultural heritage-- books, manuscripts, periodicals, and other documents-- and to the development of techniques to prevent the destruction and to preserve those materials; and

* The dissemination of quality programming in the humanities to increasingly large American audiences through the use of radio and television.

The dominant effort in the Endowment's expenditures will be a commitment to strengthen and promulgate scholarly excellence and achievement in work in the humanities in our schools, colleges, universities, libraries, museums and other cultural institutions, as well as in the work of individual scholars or collaborative groups engaged in advanced research in the humanities.

In making its grants the Endowment will increase its emphasis on techniques which stimulate support for the humanities from non-Federal sources, in order to reinforce our tradition of private philanthropy in this field, and to insure and expand the financial viability of our cultural institutions and life.


I have been firmly committed to self-determination for Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, and have vigorously supported the realization of whatever political status aspirations are democratically chosen by their peoples. This principle was the keystone of the comprehensive territorial policy I sent the Congress last year. I am pleased that most of the legislative elements of that policy were endorsed by the 96th Congress.

The unique cultures, fragile economies, and locations of our Caribbean and Pacific Islands are distinct assets to the United States which require the sensitive application of policy. The United States Government should pursue initiatives begun by my Administration and the Congress to stimulate insular economic development; enhance treatment under Federal programs eliminating current inequities; provide vitally needed special assistance and coordinate and rationalize policies. These measures will result in greater self-sufficiency and balanced growth. In particular, I hope that the new Congress will support funding for fiscal management, comprehensive planning and other technical assistance for the territories, as well as create the commission I have proposed to review the applicability of all Federal laws to the insular areas and make recommendations for appropriate modification.